📊 The data: We polled local agents and found that the average real estate commission in California is 5.02%, which is less than the national average of 5.45%.
For a house sold for $586,659, this rate translates to $29,450 in real estate agent commission costs.
Realtor commission is usually the largest cost that home sellers face, but the upside is that it also represents the biggest potential for savings.
Below, we cover everything you need to know commission costs in California and also give you tips for getting low rates.
How real estate agent commission works in California
There are two real estate agents involved in a typical home sale:
- The seller's agent (also called the listing agent), representing the home seller
- The buyer's agent, who represents the person buying the home
The seller's and buyer's agent get paid a percentage of the home's final price when the sale is finalized. This payment is called real estate agent commission, and is baked into the sale price of a home and split between the two agents.
Based on our research, the average commission split in California has 50.40% of the commission going to the listing agent and 49.55% going to the buyer's agent.
Who pays for real estate commissions?
Home sellers are responsible for paying the real estate commission of both the agent representing them, as well as the agent representing whoever buys their home.
However, since the realtor commission is baked into the sales price you could say that the home buyer is paying — at least in-part — through a higher sales price.
» MORE: Who pays realtor commission.
How to save on real estate commission in California
💰Best ways to save
While there are a number of options for home sellers looking to save on commission, good options for most home sellers include:
You may have better luck negotiating lower-than-normal commission rates in California right now. In recent months the real estate market has heavily favoring home sellers, as there's been a high demand for home's in the state compared to the number of listings
When home's are in such high demand it makes a real estate agent's job really easy, and they may be more inclined to reduce their rates.
Below we cover how you can negotiate lower rates, and list some of our recommendations of low commission real estate companies that you should consider.
Tips for negotiating realtor commission in California
Successfully negotiating commission rates depends mainly on two factors: your situation and the housing market.
You may have an easier time negotiating low rates if...
The California housing market
While the personal factors that affect your ability to negotiate commission rates are unique to you, the local real estate market conditions will affect all home sellers in California.
In a seller's market — where home sellers have more leverage than buyers — a listing agent's job is easier and they may be more inclined to offer lower commission rates. The opposite is true in a buyer's market.
Months of inventory, is measured by dividing the homes listed for sale in the most recent month by the number of homes actually sold in that month. It is a key indicator of how much supply and demand there is for houses in a market.
Sale-to-list is calculated by dividing the median sale price by the median listing price in a given area. If homes in your area are generally selling for more than their listing price, that is a good indication that you are in a seller's market.
Home values rising in your area indicate that demand is growing. Whereas if this figure is falling, then it's more likely that homes in your area are becoming less desirable.
To judge the current state of the real estate market, you can look at three factors: months of inventory, sale to list price, and home value trends. Below, we've included a current breakdown of these factors in California.
Stats and facts: The current state of the California real estate market
Months of inventory
There's 0.9 months of housing inventory on the market
Homes are selling for 100.70% of their listing price
Home values have risen/fallen 6.77% year over year
Low commission real estate companies in California
Home sellers looking to save money when selling their home should consider a low commission real estate company. To help you out, Clever has picked some of the top discount and flat-fee MLS services across the state:
Discount real estate brokers in California
Discount real estate brokers are companies that will list your home for a reduced commission percentage or flat rate. The catch is that the service might not be on-par with what you'd get from a top local agent.
1% (minimum $3,000)
Clever Cash Back
0.5% on homes over $150,000
Avg. Customer Rating
4.8/5 (386 reviews)
- Clever Real Estate is a nationwide, online concierge and agent matching service for sellers and buyers — learn more
- Buyers and sellers are matched with multiple highly rated agents from major brands, such as Keller Williams, Century 21, Compass, RE/MAX, and more
- Sellers choose a full-service agent and pay a flat, $3,000 fee — or just 1% for homes more than $350,000
- Buyers may be eligible for 0.5% back after closing (in qualifying locations)
Clever has pre-negotiated lower commission rates with top agents in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico
As of May 20, 2020, Clever's average customer rating is 4.8/5 based on 386 reviews on Trustpilot.
Up to 1.5%
Avg. Customer Rating
4.5/5 (287 reviews)
- Reali is a brokerage that offers California sellers a discounted listing fee of $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000 — see the full breakdown here
- Eligible California buyers can get a commission rebate of 0.5-1.5% depending on their home's purchase price — learn more
- Reali's mobile online portal and mobile app allows buyers and sellers to virtually manage their transactions and communicate with your Reali agent
- Reali also offers in-house loan services for new purchase and refinance loans with fixed or variable rates — find out more
- Reali offers an ibuyer-like trade-in program that lets qualifying sellers buy a new home first, then sell their old house
Reali's real estate services are only available in California. However, Reali Loans offers purchase and refinance loans for home buyers and homeowners in:
As of May 20, 2020, Reali's average customer rating is 4.5/5 based on 287 reviews across Trustpilot, Zillow, Google, and the BBB.
2% ($9,000 min.)
Up to 1-1.5%
Avg. Customer Rating
4.6/5 (536 reviews)
- Sellers get full service (minus MLS access) for a 2% listing fee — $9,000 minimum fee for homes below $450,000
- REX does not post listings on the MLS. Instead, it uses digital advertising to target unrepresented buyers and help you avoid paying a buyer’s agent commission (typically 2-3%)
- This may significantly reduce your pool of prospective buyers (roughly 87% of buyers work with agents), making it harder to attract offers
- Represented buyers must cover their agent's fee themselves, which could hinder their ability or desire to purchase your home
- If you buy a non-REX home with a REX agent, you may qualify for a 1-1.5% commission rebate. If you buy a REX-listed home, you are not eligible for a rebate
|New Jersey||New York||Florida|
As of May 20, 2020, REX Real Estate’s average customer rating is 4.6/5 based on 536 reviews across Zillow, Facebook, and Google. See the breakdown below.
*These reviews are for REX's main California office. Reviews may vary by location. We recommend conducting your own research for customer reviews specific to your area.
Flat-fee MLS listing services California
Flat-fee MLS listing services offer to post your home on your local MLS for a low rate often around $100-300. The trade-off is that you'll have to handle almost the entire home-selling process yourself. If you're a real estate novice, this might not be a good option for you.
Number of Photos
- Fizber is a flat-fee MLS referral service that connects you with local brokers and agents who will list your home on the MLS for a pre-negotiated rate
- Requires that you offer buyer’s agent commission between 1-3%
- Listing is typically live within 24 hours of submission
- Fizber also offers an array of free resources and online tools (including home valuations), as well as à-la-carte downloadable forms and guidelines, such as disclosures, contracts, counteroffers, and more
|$295 - MLS Boost||$395 - Premium MLS Boost|
Fizber also offers two non-MLS listing options:
|$0 - Free Listing:||$95 - Digital Boost|
- Basic package includes social media postings — premium package includes target social ads
- Listing appears on MLS within 24 hours of submission
- Refundable up to 30 days
- Listing expires after 6 months — can renew listing for a discounted rate
- Only 6 photos with basic MLS listing package
- Making changes to your listing may incur additional fees
Number of MLS Listing Photos
6 months up to until sold
- Yager Realty is a licensed real estate brokerage that offers flat-fee MLS listings and other for sale by owner (FSBO) services to sellers throughout California
- Downloadable contracts and disclosures included with basic plan (no advice)
- For sale sign and property flyer included with basic plan
- Requires minimum buyers agent commission of 2-3%
- Additional $150 to remove listing from MLS at closing
- Offers an array of a-la-carte services, including lockbox rental, extra photos, home valuations / market reports, open house advertisements, and more
|$299 - Bronze Plan||$999 - Gold Plan|
$699 + .75% at closing - Platinum Pan
- Access to 84+ MLSs in CA
- 15 photos included with basic plan
- For sale sign and flyer included
- Requires minimum buyer’s agent commission of 2-3%
- No coaching or support included with base plan
- $150 fee to remove listing from MLS due at closing
As of August 6, 2020, Yager Realty has an average rating of 4.6/5 based on 50 reviews across Google and Yelp.
» MORE: About flat-fee MLS services.
Data on commission rates is based on a survey of 554 of our partner agents, in which we asked them to indicate the typical rates for both buyer's and seller's agents in their area.
Additionally, we utilized the following data from Zillow and Realtor.com:
- Home values, list prices, and sale prices: Based on Zillow data as of September, 2020
- Sale prices and sale-to-list ratios: Based on Redfin data as of September, 2020 (unless specified otherwise)
- Months of inventory: Based on Realtor.com data as of September, 2020